The Origins of The New Testament, Part XXXIII: The Gospel of John

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 12 August 2010 0 Comments
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Mitzi Roberts, via the Internet, writes:

Thank you for your enlightenment. I find the more we try to define God, the more likely it is that we are on the wrong page. The more I read of your teachings, the more I know that we must not try to understand, but to accept that we will never understand on this plane. The Bible tells a beautiful story and I love my Episcopal upbringing, but I don't have to take everything in the Bible and prayer book as "gospel." At 76 years, it is so comforting.


Dear Mitzi,

What a delightful 76-year-old you are! Thank you for your letter. The only shame is that, in your "Episcopal upbringing," these things were not brought to your attention 76 years ago, for they were certainly known long before that.

God is bigger than any human understanding of God. No Bible, no creed, no doctrine and no dogma can finally define God. It is a tragedy that so many religious people do not recognize this simple fact.

The world outside religious circles has certainly been aware of this for years. Don't you recall the line from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" about the Bible: "It ain't necessarily so." The Christian life is a journey into the mystery of God. The deeper we go into that journey, the more we realize that we have to go beyond the boundaries of all religious systems, including Christianity.

– John Shelby Spong




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